Tuesday, 11 May 2021 03:57

Oettinger: It’s time to take EU-Kazakhstan relations to a new level

Former European Commission Vice President Günther Oettinger called on Monday (10 May) for elevating the EU-Kazakhstan relations to “a new level”, inviting the European business to invest more in added-value products manufactured in the Central Asian country.

Oettinger spoke as an online guest at a conference in Brussels organised by the Berlin Eurasian Club, a business association of mostly German and Kazakh businesses, which coincided with the EU-Kazakhstan Cooperation Council that took place in person in the Belgian capital on the same day.

The former EU Commissioner argued that time was ripe for Kazakhstan, a producer of raw materials among which he mentioned copper, nickel, iron, manganese, gold, and also oil and gas, to process these raw materials into added-value products necessary for industrial production, naming the chemical industry, the automotive sector and the pharmaceutical sector.

Such cooperation with firms from the EU would result in a win-win situation, he argued. In his words, more partnerships with European industries were needed for training skilled workers. Also, the EU Erasmus+ program should give more young people from Kazakhstan the opportunity to come to Europe to learn about the EU’s economics, democracy, market economy, he said.

Kazakhstan is rich in minerals and fossil fuels, but the country aims to diversify its energy sources and become carbon-neutral by 2060. Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski, who attended the event, said the Kazakh national program for transition to a green economy was in line with the European Green deal objectives.

Looking forward to my participation in this event this morning.